My daughter started high school yesterday. As was to be expected she was nervous and excited. Of course I was a little the same way myself. I remember my own first day so well. Unfortunately unlike me, she doesn’t have a big brother to show her the ropes or – to be truthful – completely ignore her. But she is lucky enough to be moving from our local primary school to our local high school, so friends and neighbors abound.
There has been lots of talk about first days around the Australian blogging world this past week. As friends – both online and off – are sending their littlest and biggest and inbetweenest off to school for the first time, I find myself comparing how different my children’s first days were between kindergarten and now.
My daughter is one of those kids who is made for school, and school works really well for kids like her. Bubbly and friendly, she is confident in large groups, academic work is a breeze and she gets great results with very little effort. Even in subject areas where she is not the most adept, she is enthusiastic and makes the most of the experience.
At five and a half she was ready for school, and when we filed in to the kindergarten classroom on her first day, she looked up at me shyly for a moment, then happily took her teacher’s hand and took that first big step into the next seven years of her life. A small tear may have escaped as I returned to the car. That wistful feeling that you get on reaching the wonderful conclusion of a beautiful story that you just don’t want to end.
Two years later it was my son’s turn to start school. My shy, gentle boy with the eyes that took up half his face. The same lad who wept buckets every Wednesday and Friday morning for a year when he was dropped at preschool. How would he cope with the boisterous boys and the chatterbox girls? Would the teachers see how special he was? How clever? He had a tendency to hide his talents, so he didn’t stand out. Yet like his sister he grabbed on to the teacher’s offered hand and took that first step with confidence. I confess I wept buckets myself in the car that day. The beautiful story was ended and this time I had to give the book away.
Yesterday afternoon my daughter texted me to say that she thought she might not be on the right bus home, but she was with her mates and they would sort themselves out. When I called to check whether she was OK, I could hear the joy in her voice as they laughed over their predicament – joy at being with her friends, at embarking on the next amazing adventure. So it seems that the sequels to the stories have been just as spellbinding as those first lovely chapters. As each page has turned, new wondrous facets of the main characters have been revealed, and as the simple reader, I have been entranced by them all.